by Paul Bowers
The owners of the Charleston School of Law announced today that they had signed an agreement expressing their intent to sell the school to Florida-based education company InfiLaw Systems.
In a letter to students and faculty this afternoon, School of Law board members and co-founders Robert S. Carr and George C. Kosko wrote that "for some time," they had been "working on a plan for the orderly succession of ownership."
Discontent about the InfiLaw deal among the student body and alumni sparked discussions in the state legislature about a potential merger of the private school with the publicly funded College of Charleston, but in the letter, Carr and Kosko state, "We have not been approached at all by any public institution interested in buying our interests, and private institutions that expressed an interest elected not to engage in substantive discussions.
"We also looked at other options, such as becoming a non-profit institution and the sale to a current owner," they wrote. "None of these options, in the end, would have done as much to protect the interests of the School of Law for the foreseeable future as the contract with InfiLaw. Without such an agreement, the long-term future of the school might be in jeopardy."
Carr and Kosko also wrote that they are willing to consider alternative proposals for the future of the school that are "well thought out and financially responsible."
The letter states that the transfer of ownership to InfiLaw will become effective if it is approved by the S.C. Commission on Higher Education and the American Bar Association. Carr and Kosko say they will accept alternative proposals through Oct. 1.
Speculation about a change of ownership started swirling in late July when it was revealed that the school had entered a management services agreement with InfiLaw, which also owns the Charlotte School of Law, Phoenix School of Law, and Florida Coastal School of Law. However, until today, school leaders had refused to discuss details of the agreement or comment on the possibility of a sale, with school co-founder George C. Kosko telling students that he didn't want to "run afoul of ABA regulations."